Friday, April 1, 2011

My Rector of Choice Speaks

The Reverend Mary Ann Hill
Saint Dunstan's Tulsa
So how do we be human and be kind? There are ways to help us learn not to be stinky, or hateful, or unkind. One way which I find myself coming back to over and over again is this: before we say something about someone else, or think ugly thoughts, we can ask ourselves: “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?”

I didn’t come up with this idea myself. These three questions have been around for ages. They’re attributed to many different sources, including Socrates, Quakers, and Buddhists. It was mentioned recently in a Wall Street Journal article: “Before You Gossip, Ask Yourself This ...”by Jeffrey Zaslow. The article talks about the efforts some adults are making to help young people learn how to communicate in ways that are kind and compassionate, especially in this age of Facebook and My Space. In his article he relates this story:

I've never forgotten a letter I once received from a reader, who told me about going to a dance when she was a teen. "My mother was waiting for me when I came home," she wrote. "But instead of telling her I had a great time, I regaled her with a scathing description of some incredible nerd who'd tried to dance with me. In essence, I said that this guy had a lot of nerve to expect anyone to dance with a person as weird and ugly as he was.

"When I finished my tirade, my mom said, 'You know, this boy you find ugly and weird is some mother's pride and joy. She waited for him to come home, just like I waited for you, hoping to hear he'd had a nice time at the dance. But when he came home, she saw his face, she knew someone hurt him, and it broke her heart. So the next time a boy asks you to dance, before you turn him down or make fun of him, just remember: Every boy is some mother's son.' "

Not only is every boy some mother’s son, but everyone we encounter is a child of God, even the ones who may get on our nerves or irritate us. It’s human nature to get annoyed, but next time it happens to you, take a moment to ask God to help you be kind and compassionate, patient and understanding. God knows we need help with these things, but by the act of regularly asking for it, we help keep our minds on the right side of the Golden Rule. And next time you’re tempted to say or think something ugly about someone else, ask yourself: “Is it kind, is it true, is it necessary?”
Set a watch before my mouth, O Lord, and guard the door of my lips; let not my heart incline to any evil thing.
- Psalm 141:3

Read Reverend Hill's entire reflection here.
Previous Boom3 comment from Hill here.

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